Trucks will be allowed to travel Idaho interstates at 75 mph — the same speed as cars — under legislation introduced in the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene. Idaho’s current truck speed limit on freeways is 65 mph, according to a report in the Spokesman-Review.
“The intent of this legislation, should it move forward, is to enhance safety by having all vehicles on the highway drive the same speed limit, thus eliminating a lot of lane changes that currently are necessary because of the differentiation in speed limits,” Hammond told the committee.
His bill would set the speed limit for big trucks the same as other motor vehicles, not only on freeways but also in town and on state highways.
Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, who owns a trucking company, said he won’t oppose Hammond’s measure but says the issue goes deeper than the speed limit, according to a Local News 8 report. Corder said owners of large truck fleets don’t drive to the limit anyway, choosing instead limit trucks to slower speeds that maximize fuel efficiency.
“Probably the thing you need to consider is that there are a growing number of those trucks that will not do 75,” Corder warned. “They’re much more sophisticated than cars; they’re limited by their computers and they’re controlled so they can’t exceed that speed because of our neighboring states that don’t allow it.”
“You are correct, certainly, in that the interactions between slow and more rapidly moving vehicles has always been the issue — not even the speed, it’s just been the interactions,” Corder warned. “But by setting a truck speed limit that most trucks can’t or won’t drive, you won’t be able to do what you want to do.”
He also predicted that owner-operators would speed up to 80 mph if the measure passes in order to maximize miles and pay.